Czechs overcome Malta
Pressure counts in Plzen
Last Updated: 12/10/12 7:31pm
Tomas Pekhart: On target for Czechs
The Czech Republic overcame dogged resistance by Malta to secure the first win of their 2014 World Cup qualifying campaign in their Group B clash at the Doosan Arena in Plzen.
Theodor Gebre Selassie put the Czechs ahead in the 34th minute, but the lead lasted just four minutes before Alex Muscat equalised for Pietro Ghedin's visitors.
Tomas Pekhart restored the hosts' advantage, though, and Jan Rezek sealed the points - but it was by no means the emphatic triumph they would have hoped for.
Malta made Italy work hard for victory last month when the Euro 2012 runners up were less than convincing in their 2-0 win, and they proved to be stubborn opponents again.
There were few clear-cut chances in the opening half-hour. Gebre Selassie had a header comfortably saved in the first five minutes but the home team produced little until the defender gave the hosts the lead in the 34th minute.
David Limbersky sent in a cross from the left byline which was met by the Werder Bremen right-back, who headed the ball into the top-left corner from close range.
However, four minutes later Malta were back on level terms thanks to their first goal of the campaign, Muscat drilling a fierce shot into the top-left corner from 20 yards.
The teams were all square at the break but six minutes later the hosts were again ahead when Petr Jiracek's cross was headed into the top-right corner by Pekhart .
And Rezek slotted home in the 67th minute to finally give the hosts some breathing space.
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying
Fri 12th Oct - Group F
Russia1 - 0Portugal
Luxembourg0 - 6Israel
Fri 12th Oct - Group I
Finland1 - 1Georgia
Belarus0 - 4Spain
Fri 12th Oct - Group B
Czech Rep3 - 1Malta
Armenia1 - 3Italy
Bulgaria1 - 1Denmark
Fri 12th Oct - Group C
Faroe Islands1 - 2Sweden
Kazakhstan0 - 0Austria
Rep Ireland1 - 6Germany
Fri 12th Oct - Group E
Albania1 - 2Iceland
Switzerland1 - 1Norway
Slovenia2 - 1Cyprus
Fri 12th Oct - Group G
Liechtenstein0 - 2Lithuania
Slovakia2 - 1Latvia
Greece0 - 0Bosnia
Fri 12th Oct - Group D
Turkey0 - 1Romania
Netherlands3 - 0Andorra
Estonia0 - 1Hungary
Fri 12th Oct - Group H
Moldova0 - 0Ukraine
England5 - 0San Marino
Fri 12th Oct - Group A
Serbia0 - 3Belgium
Macedonia1 - 2Croatia
Wales2 - 1Scotland
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group A
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group B
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group C
|4||Republic of Ireland||10||14|
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group D
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group E
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group F
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group G
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group H
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group I